Research Evaluates Water Quality Factors and Fiber Digestion in Dairy Cows: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

Farmer-Driven Research Evaluates Water Quality Factors and Fiber Digestion in Dairy Cows
Eighteen farms in the Northern New York region participated in research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program evaluating the impact of water quality on fiber digestion in dairy cows. Researchers with the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, New York, sampled and analyzed water from participating farms for such factors as minerals, pH, hardness, sulfates, nitrates, and bacteria. Previous research conducted in South Dakota has indicated that low water quality, defined as water having mineral, bacterial or other compound levels above a prescribe ‘normal’ range, could decrease fiber digestion. None of the water samples collected for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program project were of poor quality.

The results of the fiber digestion analyses in Northern New York indicated a slight positive correlation between sodium and nitrate levels and fiber digestion; a slight negative correlation was found with magnesium and potassium. For example, the digestibility of conventional corn silage was significantly reduced as magnesium levels in water samples increased, while an increase in sodium level showed a moderate increase in the fiber digestibility of some forages, including grass silage.

NOFA-VT & UNH Extension Offer Farmers an Educational Series
Farmers and Agricultural Professionals are invited to a four-session series to build farmers’ skills in managing their labor force. Beginning January 30, this series will be held in two different locations: Lebanon, New Hampshire and Portsmouth, New Hamphire. Please see below for locations and dates:

January 30, February 6, 13 and 27
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon, NH
Register here.

January 31, February 7, 14 and 21, 2017
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
NH Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth, NH
Register here

Each workshop costs $25 per person, per session (includes lunch). Email Seth Wilner for more information or call 603-863-9200.

ORIGO Debuts New Corporate Tag Line
ORIGO, a manufacturer of fat supplements for the dairy, swine and poultry markets, announced the introduction of its new corporate tag line – Powering Livestock Performance. The new tag line will begin appearing on ORIGO’s advertising, website and packaging and will be featured on the company’s new trade show display panels currently in development.

A cow gets a drink at the Miner Institute dairy farm in Chazy, NY. Photo: W. H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute

Publisher’s Letter: Bringing Jersey the Dog Home


My husband and I are now officially considered “empty nesters.” Our two children have moved out, and we have no grandchildren to spoil yet. Therefore, our dogs are our babies and we, like many Americans, treat our dogs like family. January marks the anniversary month when we brought our last baby home, a beautiful white German Shepherd named Jersey. Every January I reminisce and laugh at the conversation I had with my son about Jerseys.

Jason had always wanted a white German Shepherd. After his black German Shepherd passed away, we reserved a puppy from a Lyndonville, Vermont breeder, about 20 miles from our home. That winter day, Jason, my daughter Jessica, her friend Chelsea, and I all piled in the car to pick up our little “bundle of joy.” White German Shepherd puppies are adorable; they look like fluffy baby polar bears.

I was so proud watching my son cradle that precious puppy in his arms, because he loves dogs. I was thinking how mature he had become, and how he always made good decisions – until we had the following conversation.

Jason piped up and said, “You know this isn’t the first Jersey I’ve had in this car,” I asked, “What do you mean?” He replied, “Last spring the North Danville farm had a baby calf and I had to get it home to feed so I brought it in your car.”


I said, “Oh, you put her in the trunk, right?” His response: “Nope.”

“If you didn’t put her in the trunk, where did you put her?”

“In the back seat.”

Thinking I didn’t hear him correctly, I asked again, “You put her where?” He stood stoic.

“In the back seat.”

At that point, I looked in the rearview mirror to see my daughter and her friend’s reaction. Chelsea, who is from Boston, had a look of total disbelief on her face, and I am sure she was thinking, “What kind of hillbillies are these people?”

I know what my daughter was thinking because she remarked, “That was a dumb thing to do.” If you have ever raised children, you know siblings don’t hold their feelings back.

I was seething. Then, I spoke in a tone only a mother can use, “You put a calf in the back seat of my car?!” He knew I was upset, and quickly responded, “Yeah, but I put her in a grain bag.”

That didn’t console me, because if that little brown calf had the “Jersey Squirts,” no burlap bag was going to hold that mess in. He told me he stopped at school to show all his friends. Great – another 15 minutes that animal was in the back seat of my car. I asked, “Did any of your buddies ask you why you had a calf in the back seat of your mother’s car?” His answer: “Nope.”

I think he knew I was upset because he quickly added, “Mimi helped me wipe the back seat up, and she said it looked fine.” I am sure both his grandparents had a laugh at the trip.

Looking back on that ride home, I chuckle at the conversation now. Young adults don’t always make the right decisions. But when I hear about the turmoil that parents go through with drug-addicted children, I think giving a calf a joy ride isn’t that devastating at all, and I do “Thank God He’s a Country Boy.”

Runamok Maple Acquires Maple Candy Operation from Bascom Maple Farms: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

Runamok Maple Acquires Maple Candy Operation from Bascom Maple Farms
Runamok Maple announced the acquisition of Bascom Maple Farms’ maple candy operation. The candy operation of Bascom Maple Farms, consisting of maple candy and maple butter, will be owned by Runamok Maple and operated under the name of True North Maple, a newly developed maple candy brand from Runamok Maple. True North Maple will use the production facilities at Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Cotton Mill Building in Brattleboro, Vermont, but will operate as a separate entity.

2017 PA Farm Show to Highlight Veterans’ Connections to Agriculture
Secretary Russell Redding announced that the Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to plan activities for Veterans, Military and their Families Day on January 12 as a part of the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show.

November 2016 Livestock Slaughter Report, USDA Conservation Programs: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

Northeastern Region November 2016 Livestock Slaughter Report
Commercial red meat production for New England totaled 2.4 million pounds in November, up 16 percent from the 2.1 million pounds produced in November 2015.  Cattle slaughter totaled 2.4 thousand head, up 14 percent from November 2015.  The average live weight was up 10 pounds from the previous year, at 1,091.  Calf slaughter totaled 400 head, up 100 percent from November 2015.  The average live weight was up 10 pounds from last year, at 174 pounds.  Hog slaughter totaled 3.6 thousand head, up 9 percent from November 2015. The average live weight was up 16 pounds from the previous year, at 284 pounds.  Sheep slaughter totaled 3.7 thousand head, 28 percent above last year. The average live weight was 96 pounds, down 1 pound from November a year ago.

Commercial red meat production for New York totaled 3.7 million pounds in November, up 20 percent from the 3.1 million pounds produced in November 2015.  Cattle slaughter totaled 3.2 thousand head, up 28 percent from November 2015.  The average live weight was up 22 pounds from the previous year, at 1,191.  Calf slaughter totaled 5,400 head, up 116 percent from November 2015.  The average live weight was down 104 pounds from last year, at 98 pounds.  Hog slaughter totaled 5.3 thousand head, up 15 percent from November 2015.  The average live weight was up 12 pounds from the previous year, at 271 pounds.  Sheep slaughter totaled 4.8 thousand head, 9 percent below last year. The average live weight was 105 pounds, unchanged pounds from November a year ago.

Registration Open for USDA Conservation Programs
Registration is still open for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). To register, fill out eligibility forms. Once you qualify, ensure your application is submitted to your local NRCS service center by February 17, 2017, to be considered for the second FY2017 ranking period.

Beef Quality Assurance Road Show, Built-Rite Introduces Two New Models: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

Beef Quality Assurance Road Show
The Beef Quality Assurance traveling road show will stop at a few towns November 8 through 10 in Venango County, Montour County and York County. Attendees will have the opportunity to eat dinner and enjoy presentations while earning BQA recertification or points for new BQA interest. The evening activities will open with speaker Dr. Dan Tracy, Multimin, sharing Multimin 90’s role in disease prevention. To register, contact Courtney Cowden or visit the website.

Built-Rite Introduces Two New Models
Built-Rite has introduced two new models. The first, BM30 Blockmaster, features a 68 hp Kubota diesel engine, a 38-inch 3/4 pitch hydraulic saw, 3-strand 7 inch live deck and cuts logs up to 30 inches in diameter. The 68 HPWS Wood Splitter features a 68 hp Kubota Diesel log lift, and a 6 inch by 24 inch cyl. that has 42 tons of force.

Free Workshops for Loggers Available
The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension will conduct a free business management workshop for Vermont loggers and others in the logging industry on November 28 at the Newsbank, Inc. Conference Center in Chester and on November 29 at the UVM Extension Office in St. Johnsbury. Lunch and and class materials will be provided. The workshop will cover a range of financial topics including record keeping, pricing jobs for profit, business plans, accessing capital for investment and operations, transitioning the business and retirement planning. Participants also will hear about current industry economics and the PATH (Planning and Analysis in Timber Harvest) spreadsheet tool, among other topics. Participants will earn eight Vermont LEAP (Logger Education to Advance Professionalism) credits. To register, contact Christi Sherlock at (866) 860-1382 by November 23.

New Holland Agriculture Announces Acquisition of Kongskilde Agriculture: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

New Holland Agriculture Announces Acquisition of Kongskilde Agriculture
New Holland Agriculture announced its agreement to acquire Kongskilde Industries, part of the Danish Group Dansk Landbrugs Grovvareselskab (DLG A.m.b.A.). This business develops, manufactures and sells solutions for agricultural applications in the tillage and hay & forage segments under various brands, including Kongskilde, Överum and JF. 

Case IH and Bane-Walker provides equipment for Ivy Tech students

Bane-Welker Equipment and Case IH Provides Equipment for Ivy Tech Students
Bane-Welker Equipment, in collaboration with Case IH, have recently agreed to provide the Lafayette and Terre Haute Ivy Tech campuses with the use of new Case IH equipment to enhance the hands-on experience of the students in their Agriculture Program. Bane-Welker and Case IH have agreed to place four pieces of new equipment on both campuses every quarter through 2017. 

New Holland Hires New Brand Communications Marketing Manager
New Holland welcomed Modesty Guarente as the new Brand Communications Marketing Manager. Guarente will manage creative agencies and vendors associated with New Holland in North America.

Editor’s Note: Talking to The Nonfarmer Consumer


As I’ve mentioned several times, my experience in the world of agricultural is humbling in the sense that I end every day learning something new. The biggest part of it is communication. At Penn State University’s Ag Progress Days last August, Paul Spooner, affiliate relations and ag communications manager with the U.S Farmers & Ranchers Alliance provided me another teachable moment.

Spooner offered a Sustainable Communications Training session where the focus was placed on one particular word: Sustainability. A simple noun – the ability to be upheld, supported or confirmed – that apparently means a lot of things to a lot of people. In a study polling consumers (a growing number of them, millennials), it was noted that no matter what people thought of sustainability, more than half agreed that it is important.

What brought Spooner to Pennsylvania was to explain to farmers their role in discussing consumers’ concerns about their product: the crops. Many of these trepidations involve how the food is grown and the farming practice in general. “The first step is acknowledging you care about the environmental impact of your farm,” Spooner explained during his presentation.

It’s important, he noted, that farmers talk about areas that they touch often: water, soil, air and habitat. Spooner also touched on how sustainability equals smart business practices and keeping the future farming generations in mind.

Spooner was clear on WHAT the message should be toward the non-farmer consumer, but the disconnect I noticed that day was the HOW. For instance, the debate that pits GMOs against conventional crop and organic has for the most part created great confusion for everyone. Documentaries such as “Food Inc.” have cast a negative connotation on GMOs. Along with many news items that move that sentiment forward, it’s tough for the general public to have a clear understanding of the American farm practice.

Especially with today’s political climate, different opinions often mean hardening stances that drive folks to talk past each other instead of to each other. The Alliance is trying to do their part with a documentary it funded, “Farmland,” that tells the story of several farmers and ranchers.

To highlight the disconnect, Spooner told the audience that film was available on Netflix and encouraged the crowd to share this with consumers. However, one gentleman had an objection on why the Alliance would put a film on a paid website instead of the traditional movie theater or television, not knowing about the studies that show millennials in the U.S. watch 2.5 times more movies on sites like Netflix and Hulu than television.

That day, it didn’t seem that that gentleman grasped the concept as Spooner would have hoped. But hope is not lost after all. As the future unfolds, our lines of communication will evolve although the methods of farming have stayed the same. But in order to reach success in the eyes of the non-farming consumer, we’ll have to face the fact that we have to meet them halfway.

USDA Grant Funds Organic Farming Food-Safety Study: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

USDA Grant Funds Organic Farming Food-Safety Study
Organic farmers who use animal-based manure to improve soil quality and nourish crops are receiving help through a nearly $2 million grant for a food-safety research project being led by the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and involving a multi-state network of collaborators, including University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant ($1,999,848) will support studies needed to develop national guidelines and best practices for using raw manure to improve soil health while minimizing food-safety risks in organic crops.

Grassroots Members Help To Shape Farm Bureau’s Policy Priorities For 2017, Beyond
The 11 county Farm Bureaus that make up the grassroots membership of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) are in the process of holding their annual meetings, during which the counties’ farmer members adopt resolutions that set MFBF’s policy priorities for the future. These resolutions can also have national influence. If a resolution is adopted at a county Farm Bureau annual meeting, the resolution is then reviewed by MFBF’s resolution committee, which will prepare and forward the resolution onto the statewide delegation. The resolution is then discussed and voted upon by delegates at MFBF’s annual meeting, which this year is set to be held on Dec. 1 and 2 at the Marriott in Peabody.

DYNA Products Launches 27 Rental Centers, John May Farm Safety Fund Accepting Applications: This Week’s Industry News


Want to keep up with the latest news for farmers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the agriculture industry.

DYNA Products Launches 27 Rental Centers
DYNA Products introduced 27 new rental centers across Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. DYNA also announced its OEM partnership with Caterpillar, Inc and its first Firewood Processor available through CAT has been placed with MacAllister Rentals/The CAT Rental Store out of Midland, Michigan.

John May Farm Safety Fund Accepting Applications
The John May Farm Safety Fund, established for New York farmers who need financial help to improve safety on their farms, is now accepting applications. Farmers may receive up to $5,000 in assistance.

Merck Animal Health Receives License for BOVILIS CORONAVIRUS
Merck Animal Health announced the launch of
BOVILIS CORONAVIRUS, a USDA-approved modified-live intranasal vaccine to aid in reduction of enteric disease caused by Bovine Coronavirus (BCV). BCV is often prevalent in cow/calf beef herds and dairy calves and is frequently diagnosed as the leading pathogen in neonatal calves. This intranasal vaccine is approved for use in calves as young as 3 days of age.

Publisher’s Letter: Support Your Local Volunteer Fire Department


National Fire Prevention Week kicks off Oct. 9-15. It’s a time when we all check our smoke detectors and update our fire extinguishers; at the same time school children across the nation receive fire safety lessons from city fire departments or local volunteer departments.

A fire is a tragedy that we hope will never happen to anyone we know. Yet, it happened to my family. On May 20, 2014, a fire struck my parents’ farmhouse. It started at 9:30 in the morning and engulfed their big old farmhouse within 30 minutes. My mom was home and barely escaped with her two cats and two dogs. I arrived at the farm about 10 a.m. and was mortified to see how quickly the fire had spread. It was gut-wrenching to stand on the sidelines and watch the farmhouse that had been in my father’s family for almost 150 years go up in smoke. The conditions that day were ripe for a fire; the winds were comparable to Santa Ana winds and the property was dry. The only thing that saved the barn was a farm pond about 100 feet from the house and the fact that the howling winds were blowing away from the structure.

The firemen and women were the real saviors that day, however. Because of the size of the buildings, eight fire departments were called to fight the blaze. Out of those eight departments, the majority of firefighters were volunteers. The high school even let the junior firefighters out of classes to help battle the blaze. To me these young heroes are just as important as the school football quarterback.

In the United States, 69 percent of firefighters are volunteers – the people who selflessly serve their communities. Rural towns could not survive without these dedicated men and women. The majority of fire departments in the United States are volunteers – out of 29,980 departments, 19,915 are totally volunteer. Only 2,440 are career units, and the other 7,625 are a mix of career and volunteers. Volunteer firemen and women have to attend hours of rigorous training. Many times they purchase their own gear. To fund the departments the firefighters have to put on fundraising activities. In addition to hours spent fighting fires and training, they are expected to raise money to buy the equipment necessary to fight fires. I strongly urge you to support your local department if they are hosting a dance, chicken barbecue, auction or booth at the county fair.

Another group that supports local victims is the Red Cross. I always thought the Red Cross only stepped into major disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Not true. At 1:30 p.m. that day two representatives from the local Red Cross were sitting at my kitchen table with me and my mother. They helped her fill out paperwork and get vouchers for clothing and other necessary items and provided toiletries. When people have a fire, they lose everything. Now every time I get a solicitation from the Northern Vermont Red Cross unit, I send a donation. Please support them, too. Your family may need both of these organizations someday.

Photo: sooksunsaksit/istock